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About the book
  • Published: 5 May 2003
  • ISBN: 9780141439594
  • Imprint: Penguin Classics
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 592
  • RRP: $14.99

Tess Of The D'urbervilles

Penguin English Library




With its sensitive depiction of a wronged 'pure woman' and its powerful criticism of Victorian sexual hypocrisy, Tess of the D'Urbervilles shocked readers on publication. 

A heartaching portrayal of a woman faced by an impossible choice in the pursuit of happiness, Thomas Hardy's Tess of the D'Urbervilles is edited with notes by Tim Dolin and an introduction by Margaret R. Higonnet in Penguin Classics.

When Tess Durbeyfield is driven by family poverty to claim kinship with the wealthy D'Urbervilles and seek a portion of their family fortune, meeting her 'cousin' Alec proves to be her downfall. A very different man, Angel Clare, seems to offer her love and salvation, but Tess must choose whether to reveal her past or remain silent in the hope of a peaceful future. With its sensitive depiction of the wronged Tess and powerful criticism of social convention, Tess of the D'Urbervilles, subtitled 'A Pure Woman', is one of the most moving and poetic of Hardy's novels.

Based on the three-volume first edition that shocked readers when first published in 1891, this edition includes as appendices: Hardy's Prefaces, the Landscapes of Tess, episodes originally censored from the Graphic periodical version and a selection of the Graphic illustrations.

Thomas Hardy (1840-1928), born Higher Brockhampton, near Dorchester, originally trained as an architect before earning his living as a writer. Though he saw himself primarily as a poet, Hardy was the author of some of the late eighteenth century's major novels: The Mayor of Casterbridge (1886), Tess of the D'Urbervilles (1891), Far from the Madding Crowd (1874), and Jude the Obscure (1895). Amidst the controversy caused by Jude the Obscure, he turned to the poetry he had been writing all his life. In the next thirty years he published over nine hundred poems and his epic drama in verse, The Dynasts.
If you enjoyed Tess of the D'Urbervilles, you might like Daniel Defoe's Moll Flanders, also available in Penguin Classics.

  • Pub date: 5 May 2003
  • ISBN: 9780141439594
  • Imprint: Penguin Classics
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 592
  • RRP: $14.99

About the Author

Thomas Hardy

Thomas Hardy was born on 2 June 1840. His father was a stonemason. He was brought up near Dorchester and trained as an architect. In 1868 his work took him to St Juliot's church in Cornwall where he met his wife-to-be, Emma. His first novel, The Poor Man and the Lady, was rejected by publishers but Desperate Remedies was published in 1871 and this was rapidly followed by Under the Greenwood Tree (1872), A Pair of Blue Eyes (1873) and Far from the Madding Crowd (1874). He also wrote many other novels, poems and short stories. Tess of the D'Urbervilles was published in 1891. His final novel was Jude the Obscure (1895). Hardy was awarded the Order of Merit in 1920 and the gold medal of the Royal Society of Literature in 1912. His wife died in 1912 and he later married his secretary. Thomas Hardy died 11 January 1928.

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